The Obama administration is being urged to strengthen economic and security relationships with Mexico and Canada.
A study recently completed by the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University indicates support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), cites problems occurring between the three countries, and makes recommendations for improvements.
Among current challenges impacting economic conditions are border congestion, traffic, and paperwork.
Problems facing NAFTA
- Global competitiveness with other trading blocs.
- Security threats to North America from the drug insurgency waged by Mexican organized crime fueled by guns and cash from the United States.
- Environmental concerns, water shortages, and lost biodiversity.
- Energy security.
- Mexico's commitment to economic, legal, and political reform.
Recommendations for improvement
- Support of the Merida Initiative, a security and assistance program for Mexico by the US.
- Energizing the North American Trilateral Leaders Summit, an annual meeting of the presidents of the US and prime minister of Canada.
- Designating a North America borders with a focus on critical border functions.
- Expanding risk assessment and preparedness for joint defense and catastrophes.
- Developing an effective North American trade and transportation plan for congestion, bottlenecks, and infrastructure.
- Creating a joint, revolving fund for infrastructure investments in North America.
- Implementing a North American greenhouse gas exchange strategy.
- Establishing joint, practical assessment of progress on key North American issues.